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Southampton: Hasenhuttl must unleash Joe Aribo v Leicester

Southampton return to Premier League action on Saturday afternoon as they face Leicester City at the King Power Stadium, with Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side looking to pick up their first victory of the new season.

After a disappointing 4-1 defeat against Tottenham Hotspur in their opening game, the Saints looked to be heading for another loss when they went 2-0 down against Leeds United last weekend.

However, they battled back to earn a point after goals from Joe Aribo and Kyle Walker-Peters, and after the former helped to turn the game around as a substitute, Hasenhuttl should reward him with a start against Brendan Rodgers’ team on Saturday.

As per SofaScore, the former Rangers man earned a 7.2/10 rating for his performance, the second-best of any Southampton player, which emphasises how much of a difference he made against the Yorkshire outfit.

The Saints registered just four shots on target in the game, two of which were from Aribo despite the Nigeria international spending just 28 minutes on the pitch, which again highlights the attacking impetus that he added from the bench.

Aribo showed fantastic composure to round Illan Meslier before finding the net, and his impressive dribbling and eye for goal could be the difference against Leicester, who have endured a similarly difficult start to the season as they shipped four goals against Arsenal last weekend and blew a 2-0 lead at home to Brentford the previous week.

Should Aribo start vs Leicester?

Yes

Yes

No

No

In the defeat against Spurs, Aribo played as an auxiliary striker, and his ability to drop deep and execute through balls could work well against a makeshift Leicester back three which last week included a natural midfielder in Daniel Amartey.

The 26-year-old contributed nine goals and ten assists for Rangers last season, so he can clearly make the difference in attacking areas, as no Southampton player managed more goal contributions in 2021/22.

Aribo, who has previously been labelled “exceptional” by Nigerian icon Viktor Ikpeba, ranks in the 96th percentile for expected assists when compared to other attacking midfielders in major European competition over the past year, which shows that he has the ability to unlock defences.

With Leicester looking vulnerable at the back once again this term, Hasenhuttl must start the Nigerian on Saturday, as he showed when coming off the bench a week ago that he can make a game-changing difference.

Article title: Southampton: Hasenhuttl must unleash Joe Aribo v Leicester

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